NY man charged in 1 murder now accused of 2 more

By JIM FITZGERALD | January 24, 2013 | 5:32 PM EST

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — A man recently accused of killing a woman 20 years ago has now been indicted in the fatal stabbings of two others, a district attorney's office said Thursday.

Lucius Crawford, 60, has spent 30 years in prison for nonfatal stabbings in New York and North Carolina going back to the 1970s.

Crawford has been charged with two counts of murder and two counts of criminal weapon possession in the killings that took place last month and in 1993, the Westchester district attorney's office said Thursday.

He was indicted last month in another 1993 killing.

When Crawford was arrested, Mount Vernon police Commissioner Carl Bell said he "focuses his attacks on young women. He befriends them and at some point he ends up either attacking them or killing them."

Crawford's lawyer, Angelo MacDonald, said he would challenge the charges.

"There might be an issue with his mental state, regarding the statements he made," MacDonald said.

Police said last month that Crawford confessed to the three killings but MacDonald said he was denying at least some of them.

In the most recent case, Crawford is accused of killing 41-year-old Tonya Simmons on Dec. 4. Her body was found in Crawford's Mount Vernon apartment by officers from Yonkers and New York City who were looking for Crawford, who was on parole, in connection with two cold-case killings. A recent DNA match had linked Crawford to those killings, police said.

When police found the body in his apartment, they also found his electronic monitoring ankle bracelet, which had been cut off, authorities said. He was captured three hours later.

One of the cold-case killings was the stabbing of 23-year-old Learonda Shealy of Yonkers in 1993. The new indictment charges Crawford with that killing.

Crawford was indicted last month in the other 1993 killing, of 38-year-old Nella West, whose body was found in the Bronx.

Crawford's arraignment on the new charges is scheduled for Monday.